Emotions in high places: Why EQ is outranking IQ in leadership positions

Emotional intelligence – it’s a term many of us have heard kicked around before, but few of us might actually know what it really means. There’s no doubting that a high IQ (intelligence quotient) is essential for leadership success in the business world, however there’s more and more research out there suggesting that a high EQ (emotional quotient) is one of the most valuable qualities in a good workplace leader.

While the idea of focusing on “emotions” or “feelings” in the profit-driven, results-focussed world of business might seem ridiculous to some, EQ in the workplace is much more than some touchy feely, new age nonsense. In fact, when hiring new talent, 67% of the attributes that employers are looking for are EQ competencies

Someone with a high EQ has the capacity to recognize their own emotions and those of others, use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour, and manage or adjust their emotions to adapt to environments or achieve their goals.

The ability to register and respond to emotions in an intuitive way is essential to workplace success. This principle applies just as strongly to the talent we work with as it does to our own line of work! As recruiters, our role requires practicing strong emotional intelligence when it comes to managing both clients and talent – we are in the business of relationships, after all!

Norwich University have brought together results from numerous studies to create a super useful infographic looking at the effect of IQ and EQ on successful leadership, and the findings are pretty interesting…

The benefits of a high EQ

The habits of leaders with a high EQ

What a high EQ leadership looks like

How to increase EQ

Emotional intelligence tends to naturally increase gradually with age, however there are certain measures and behaviours that can be implemented to increase EQ:


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